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Kyrgyz coup: Who is new leader Roza Otunbayeva?

Former Foreign Minister Roza Otunbayeva has emerged in the wake of the Kyrgyz coup as the leader of an interim government in Kyrgyzstan, home to a key base for the US war effort in Afghanistan.

Kyrgyz coup leader Roza Otunbayeva appears during a news conference in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, Thursday. An opposition coalition in Kyrgyzstan said it has formed an interim government that will rule the turbulent Central Asian nation for six months. Otunbayeva said Thursday she will head the government that dissolved the parliament and will take up legislative duties.

Sergei Grits/AP

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Roza Otunbayeva, the woman lifted to power by Kyrgyzstan's second popular revolt in five years, is a Moscow-educated, English-speaking former foreign minister who will likely find quick acceptance in Russia and the West alike.

Ms. Otunbayeva, who served as Kyrgyz ambassador in London and Washington during the 1990s, held her first official conversation as head of the interim government with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Thursday. Mr. Putin appeared to throw Moscow's support her way.

"It is important that the conversation was held with her in her role as the head of the government of national confidence," Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists. "Otunbayeva said she fully controls the situation in the country," he added.

IN PICTURES: Kyrgyz coup


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